TARPON SPRINGS - Half a dozen businesses and individuals were honored for their contributions to the community at the annual Tarpon Springs Chamber of Commerce meeting at Rusty Bellies Waterfront Grill on Oct. 15.
Chamber president Reggie Gibson led the meeting, which began with the induction of the board of directors, sworn in by City Manager Mark LeCouris. Chairman Kim O’Kelley, Vice Chairman Debbie Humphrey, Secretary/Treasurer Michelle Rintz, Dee Isguzar, Todd Unbehagan and Gibson will all serve as Chamber officers for the upcoming year. Leslie DiPaci, Stacy Hansen, Mike Herrera, Lisa Obst, Madeline Robinson, Tracey Swade and Dave Wright will continue as directors. Incoming board members David Gauchman, Trish Gregory, Kathleen Nishimura, Marta Ochoa and Krista Rosado were also sworn in.
Businesses of the Year
Gibson followed the practice of former Chamber President Sue Thomas and recognized all Business of the Year nominees for their impact in Tarpon Springs: small businesses Anytime Fitness, Mad Hatter General Store, Juice Marketing and Design, Fun Maps and Edmar Outfitters, medium businesses Total Fitness and 72HRPrint and large business A Total Solution.
TARPON SPRINGS - After months of planning and meetings, the Tarpon Springs City Commission unanimously approved the budget for Fiscal Year 2015, including a 5.4500 millage rate, the same rate as has been adopted since 2011.
Under that millage rate, Tarpon Springs residents will pay $5.45 per $1,000 in property value. For example, a house valued at $200,000 will owe $1,090 in property taxes. At that rate, Tarpon Springs estimates it will generate $7,110,100, about $325,000 more than last fiscal year.
Tarpon Springs has not raised its millage rate since 2010 when the Commission approved a half-mill increase from 4.9500, the largest increase the city could make under state law.
TARPON SPRINGS - More than three months after the members of the Tarpon Springs Development Services Department resigned from their various positions, the city has hired Steve Careccia as its new Planning and Zoning Director.
Careccia, who graduated from the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, most recently worked as a planner in the Development Services Department in Goodyear, Arizona. He also has family locally, and his knowledge of the area would benefit Tarpon Springs, said City Manager Mark LeCouris.
Careccia’s hiring was unanimously approved by the City Commission on Oct. 7.
TARPON SPRINGS - Where to Retire, the country’s only magazine geared toward helping people with retirement relocation decisions, named Tarpon Springs a top destination in its November/December issue, available now.
Eight cities, including Tarpon Springs, were recognized in the magazine’s “Towns of Tradition” article about towns that provide enriching cultural experiences for its residents.
“Little pockets of Greece, Poland, Italy and other countries thrive in the United States, and many retirees seek out these locations, where they find traditions, festivals, food and culture that spice up their lives,” said Where to Retire Editor Annette Fuller. “By some counts, Tarpon Springs has the largest percentage of Greek Americans, and there’s never a shortage of Greek activities, food and music.”
TARPON SPRINGS - In his office at St. Francis Pet Care Center in Tarpon Springs, veterinarian Michael Amsberry is helping lead the way with stem cell research.
Working with Animal Cell Therapies, a veterinary stem cell research and development company in San Diego, Amsberry is experimenting with the use of umbilical stem cells to treat canine allergic dermatitis, which typically presents as a skin rash or irritation.
Allergenic umbilical cord stem cells are removed from healthy dogs, purified and then transferred in the form of an intravenous infusion into dogs suffering from chronic allergic skin problems. So far, Amsberry has treated four Tarpon dogs, all of who underwent allergy testing to prove that they had elevated blood values, with between 10 million and 15 million purified, certified stem cells, depending on weight. Throughout the following six months, the dogs will continue to get different tests and rechecks to determine the success of the transfusion, focusing on whether their immune systems reject the stem cells.
TARPON SPRINGS - On Sunday, Oct. 26, the city of Tarpon Springs will host its fall cleanup.
Residents who pay for residential curbside garbage service on their city utility bill can leave furniture, mattresses, washers, dryers, ovens, small bulky household items and carpet and padding (cut and bundled into four-foot sections) at the curb by 8 a.m. for free pickup.
Tires, yard waste, propane tanks, air conditioning units, construction materials over four feet, refrigerators, freezers, microwaves, electronics and chemicals will not be picked up.
TARPON SPRINGS - Vendors wishing to participate in the third annual “There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs” Christmas event can now pre-register to rent a spot.
Vendors selling wares (such as arts and crafts and jewelry) can rent a 10-foot by 10-foot space for $100. Restaurants and food trucks can rent a space for $175. Vendors requiring power at their space will be charged an additional $25.
There’s Snow Place Like Tarpon Springs will take place on Tarpon Avenue and Safford Avenue on Dec. 12 from 4 to 9 p.m.
TARPON SPRINGS - A Tarpon Springs man was arrested for three-counts reckless driving with serious bodily injury Oct. 15 in connection with a Dec. 6, 2013 at the intersection of Belcher Road and Highland Woods Drive (which is just south of Curlew Road) in Dunedin.
Cory Ziegler, 19, was arrested at his home and transported to the Pinellas County Jail. Bond was set at $30,000.
According to a report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, multiple witness were interviewed and a the crash was “reconstructed,” as part of the crash investigation. Deputies obtained an arrest warrant Ziegler and executed that warrant at about 7:15 p.m. Tuesday. Deputies said the investigation determined that Ziegler was driving at a high rate of speed, well over the speed limit, at the time of the crash.
TARPON SPRINGS - Within the next few weeks, the next phase of the sponge dock renovations will take shape in the form of trees, benches and trashcans.
After unanimous approval from the Tarpon Springs City Commission Sept. 16, City Manager Mark LeCouris has begun the process to line Dodecanese Boulevard with Live Oaks (which typically grow between 16 and 18 feet tall), Sylvester Palms (running about 20 feet tall), Foxtail Palms (running 14 to 16 feet tall) and Eagleston Holly (10 to 12 feet tall).
Abundance Swap CLEARWATER – The Abundance Swap, an event where anyone can bring a gently used item or one in decent working order to Moccasin Lake Park, 2750 Park Trail Lane, on Saturday, Nov. 1, noon to 4 p.m.
Those items will be on tables for display and can be taken home for free. Bring something and take something home.
Organizers hope to have a wide variety of items, including books, CDs, electronics and parts, games, sports equipment, art supplies, clothing, kitchen and other household items available for anyone who wants it. This is a wonderful way to clear out one’s closet, drawer or box in the garage and walk away with some other goodies.
Items not accepted include food, shoes, underwear, things broken beyond repair, stuffed animals that have been drooled on a lot, cleaning products, cosmetics, etc.
Affordable Care Act seminars PINELLAS PARK – Liberty Tax Service, at 7001 66th St. N., will offer free seminar events to educate everyone about the new tax laws surrounding the Affordable Care Act.
There will be three seminars throughout the day on Saturday, Nov. 1, 10 a.m., 2 and 5 p.m. The seminars will be open to the public. There also will be family fun, entertainment and free food, music and the Lady Liberty Wavers.
Liberty Tax Service also will be collecting used cell phones for the nonprofit Cell Phone for Soldiers. Every phone this organization collects provides free talk time for soldiers to call home.
Fall and Christmas Craft Bazaar SEMINOLE – Oakhurst United Methodist Church, located at 13400 Park Blvd., will host its Fall and Christmas Craft Bazaar Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 1-2.
Hours will be Saturday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The event will feature crafts, bake sale, Georgia pecans, handcrafted gifts, decorations, lighted Christmas trees and florals.
Haul it to the Harbor community garage sale PALM HARBOR – Haul it to the Harbor community garage sale Saturday, Nov. 1 in the Harbor Hall/White Chapel parking lot in Downtown Palm Harbor, 1190 Georgia Ave., 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The cost is $10 per space. Vendors must supply their own tents, tables and seating. Call 771-6000.
Historical Society fish fry CLEARWATER – The Clearwater Historical Society hosts its annual fall fish fry fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 1, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Ross Norton Park Recreation Center, 1426 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ave.
Adults will be admitted for $12 and children 12 and under for $6. Servings include fried catfish, hush puppies, grits, cole slaw, iced tea or coffee.
Proceeds will go to the maintenance of the Plumb House Museum.
The fish fry is also a fundraising event for the preservation and restoration of the South Ward School on Harrison Avenue, which is scheduled to house museums of Clearwater, Pinellas County schools, Clearwater Bombers and Florida folk art.
For fish fry tickets, call any society board member or call 804-2073.